Greens also want Govt control of the press

October 25th, 2011 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

I blogged last week on how Labour’s policy was to look at bringing the self-regulatory under Government control (and to tax Internet users).

Well the Herald reports the are also keen on the idea:

The Green Party wants to make independent watchdog the Press Council answerable to the Government.

So if there is a centre-left Government of Labour, Greens and Winston, the Government looks likely to bring in Government censorship of print media. I mean can anyone imagine Winston thinking it is a bad idea?

If print media lose their independence by a Labour/Greens Government, then the possible penalties they could face from a Government appointed regulator include:

  • Compulsory publication of a statement from the BSA
  • an order to refrain from publishing for a set period of time
  • an order to refuse any advertisements for a set period of time
  • $100,000 fines for non-compliance
  • Pay costs (which can be huge)

The Minister of Broadcasting appoints all four members of the BSA. I have no criticism of the current BSA members and their decision to date. But extending their reach to include all media would be a huge step backwards for press freedom, and would inevitably lead to more politicised appointments.

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26 Responses to “Greens also want Govt control of the press”

  1. RightNow (6,638 comments) says:

    Green is the new Stupid:
    http://www.xtimports.com/greenstupid/greenstupid.jpg

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  2. tvb (4,192 comments) says:

    They cannot control social media. Even Arab dictators cannot do that. I just wish a group of right wing wealthy people would set up a right wing radio station to rival Radio New Zealand or even a television station.

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  3. sbw (44 comments) says:

    No prizes for guessing who the Minister of Broadcasting would be?

    Winston Raymond Peters.

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  4. Psycho Milt (2,246 comments) says:

    So, you’re OK with govt censorship of the broadcast media via the govt-appointed BSA, but opposed to govt censorship of the print media via a govt-appointed press council. Why? What’s the difference? Surely govt censorship of the media is bad irrespective of the media format?

    [DPF: No I support all media coming under a self-regulatory Press Council. The historic rationale for broadcasting regulation was that it was a much more powerful medium than the others, but this is diminishing. Also the other rationale is broadcasters get their spectrum from the Government, so hence Govt can set some rules. But print media are totally independent and should remain so]

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  5. MT_Tinman (2,983 comments) says:

    From what I’ve read of BSA deliberations it is a very expensive taxpayer funded body designed to keep a very small number of serial complainers happy.

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  6. Manolo (13,303 comments) says:

    The true colour of the Luddite watermelons is there for all to see: communist red.

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  7. berend (1,630 comments) says:

    Labour still thinks censorship is great!

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  8. Ed Snack (1,733 comments) says:

    Both Labour and the greens are quite happy with free speech, they just don’t think that others should have it as well. Probably because, those other people are WRONG !

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  9. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    There should be no such thing as a broadcasting standards authority. All media should be regulated the same and only to the extent that they engage in fraudulent or dishonest practices such as false advertising etc. They shouldn’t be regulated for “decency” or “fairness” or any such nonsense.

    But why is it any more anti-free press simply because the print media are included in the government regime? Why is National anti-censorship while they support the BSA but the opposition are pro-censorship because they want to incorporate print media into a government regulatory framework as well? The same arguments that apply to television can surely apply to print media as well. Indeed perhaps more so than television. Does the NZ Herald have as much competition as the evening news?

    Seems to me the political right are strong on free speech rhetoric while hypocritically ignoring similar censorship measures. The right denounced the Electoral Finance Act yet we still have ridiculous regulations around who can say what and where and how they say it. Now the left is being denounced for wanting to regulate print media while ignoring the current regulation of broadcast media.

    I see DPF supports all media coming under a self-regulatory Press Council. But it’s a matter of emphasis. If this is a huge blow to press freedom why isn’t there constant pressure from the political right to get rid of the BSA?

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  10. BeaB (2,056 comments) says:

    The Left has always believed there is only the party line and we should all think the same way.

    I have no truck with any of these so-called watchdogs. Their opinion is no better than mine and I am the one who can decide whether to read/listen/view. All this complaining and expensive judgements! Pathetic.

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  11. Ross Miller (1,659 comments) says:

    Dr Goebbles looks up from the fires of hell and sez ‘good call folks, you have clearly supped well from my cup’.

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  12. dime (9,351 comments) says:

    Wheres Toad? spin your way out of this jealous man

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  13. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    The Left has always believed there is only the party line and we should all think the same way.

    Remind me again when National is going to come out with its policy to get rid of the BSA.

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  14. Psycho Milt (2,246 comments) says:

    No I support all media coming under a self-regulatory Press Council.

    Excellent. However, National have no plans to do that, so the difference between them and the left parties on this point is merely about the extent of govt censorship of the media, not whether there should be any.

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  15. Gulag1917 (638 comments) says:

    The left are control freaks.

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  16. backster (2,067 comments) says:

    I agree with Bea and Weihana.. Get rid of state ownership and this quango together.

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  17. Scott Chris (5,869 comments) says:

    Farrar says:- “I support all media coming under a self-regulatory Press Council”

    I agree. The press council is a toothless organisation run by enthusiasts within the press industry, and, I suspect, only paid attention to *by* the aforementioned enthusiasts. If they want to try to establish a cultural standards for fair and balanced reporting, then good for them.

    The Greens and Labour appear to be way out of line on this issue. The government’s role is to write good law relating to conflict of interest, not to engineer cultural standards. (other than the freedom principle which supposedly underpins the idea of government itself)

    If someone feels that they have been harmed by the press, then take ‘em to court.

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  18. Nick R (497 comments) says:

    Note that the Govt doesn’t just support the BSA (the Broadcasting Act dates back to 1989, and there have now been 4 terms of National-led Government since then, but there have been no meaningful reforms), it also exercises the right to make complaints. Paula Bennett complained against TV3 earlier this year, for example.

    So National can’t reasonably be regarded as being opposed to state regulation of the media. At best it is opposed to extending the scope of that regulation.

    And unlike DPF, I have many complaints about recent decisions of the BSA…

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  19. ben (2,396 comments) says:

    If both Labour and the Greens want this, then it will happen eventually. And they will be able to say they warned folks in advance they would do this.

    And then we will see press being fined for parody, for published comments against the imaginary consensus on global warming, for giving fringe groups broadcasting time, and so on. Oh and blogs will of course begin to be regulated.

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  20. tristanb (1,133 comments) says:

    Labour still thinks censorship is great!

    Have you ever tried to use their blog?

    People get banned for pointing out that the graphs they use don’t start at zero!
    http://blog.labour.org.nz/

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  21. emmess (1,367 comments) says:

    We already know the watermelons want to send ‘climate deniers’ to jail (and let everyone else out).
    So this is how it will happen.

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  22. thedavincimode (6,514 comments) says:

    “If someone feels that they have been harmed by the press, then take ‘em to court.”

    Scott, that isn’t an answer. Litigation costs are stacked against the plaintiff as the party initiating proceedings. Plaintiffs have to do all the running. By the time you get to the courtroom steps, having filed statements of claim, briefs and all the bollocks, you’re in for the big bucks – could be anywhere between $50,000 to $150,000 depending on the case and the facts.

    In reality, that puts the power in the hands of the press – the defendants – who are more likely to have the financial resources to simple grind many claims into the ground just through cost of the process and the will required for the plaintiff to sustain them.

    The only solution for that would be to require the pariah to fund litigation claims – perhaps through some common fund. As soon as you did that, then there would be an avalanche of claims because it cost nothing and there was no downside. So, to make sure that didn’t happen, it would problem require some oversight panel to vet the claims … nek minnit …

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  23. Nookin (3,032 comments) says:

    Scott & TDM

    As per the recent case of the ex government employee who was forced to abandon defamation proceedings despite a victory in the Supreme Court. This was a classic case of somebody being totally stonewalled and denied justice because the opposition had the resources.

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  24. Scott Chris (5,869 comments) says:

    thedavincimode & Nookin

    I take your points, but nothing will change the fact that the judicial system is weighted in favour of those with the most resources.

    Perhaps we could abolish libel laws completely and let anyone say what they want, and see which cultural institutions spring up to leap to the defence of those whose good names have been besmirched. I suspect that our culture would either self regulate, or we would end up with an misinformation war…. or is that already happening?

    The only other solution to this problem that I can think of would be for the the government to undertake the (civil) prosecution as defender of the rights of its citizens, if the case is deemed compelling enough. But then you get the state of affairs in which the government gets to decide on who they should attempt to censure or fine.

    Personally I don’t really have a problem with the second idea, but I know a lot of people would.

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  25. wat dabney (3,655 comments) says:

    Seeing the way the Greens run their own fake “blog” – secretly censoring contradictory facts in favour of oleaginous sycophancy – they clearly can’t learn anything from the Soviet Union and would be only too happy to “edit the options” of us little people if they ever gain the power they crave.
    With the threat of crippling fines hanging over everything they publish, newpapers will very quickly learn obedience and compliance through self-censorship.

    But remember, ultimately it’s not the press they are censoring: it’s you. You’re the one who won’t be able to read or view the ideas, thoughts and news stories that the Green elite deems too dangerous for you proles.

    Can you imagine what it’s like in the meetings of these smug, self-satisfied c**** when they’re coming up with these ideas? “Well Jocasta and I feel that we, as protectors of the child-citizens of New Zealand – their guardians if you will – need legislation with teeth so we can ensure they are not confused by ideas which have not been approved by those of us with a sufficiently broad grasp of the matter. A great many, for example, will not understand the essential truths revealed by post-normal science and need guidance to avoid the pitfalls of traditional logic and evidence.”

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  26. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    wat dabney,

    And now can you tell us what the National meetings are like when they discuss the merits of the BSA?

    Honestly, some of you are so blind to your own bias. The way some of you talk you’d think the Greens are alien monsters that feed on human flesh.

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